New Tesla Model 3 'Highland' unveiled for NZ: here's everything new

Jet Sanchez
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The new Tesla Model 3 "Highland" is coming to NZ.

The new Tesla Model 3 "Highland" is coming to NZ.

It's official: After months of secrecy, the Tesla Model 3 refresh - codenamed "Project Highland" - is finally here. And it's coming to New Zealand.

2024 Tesla Model 3 Highland

The most notable updates include a revised front fascia design, interior improvements, and increased cruising range. Tesla says around 50 per cent of the parts are new, although it did not get into specifics.

Redesigned exterior

Tesla has improved aerodynamics on the Model 3 with more sculpted body lines and aero-optimised surfaces, further reducing drag and improving wind noise. 

The all-electric sedan gets bolder, narrower headlights with integrated fog lamps, producing a more aggressive look. The taillights, now integrated into the liftgate, feature a new single-piece design.

Tesla New Zealand says it will introduce two new colour options: Stealth Grey and Ultra-Red, with the latter featured in the provided images (view gallery below). New wheel options include 18- and 19-inch rims wrapped in updated Michelin tyres, which feature softer sidewalls and improved noise suppression.

Plush interior

Beyond exterior updates, Tesla has also given the Model 3 an interior revision. It now features a redesigned centre console with a brighter touchscreen display, although the screen still measures 15 inches.

Cabin comfort improves with sound-dampening materials, additional suspension bushings, and improved sealing. The new Model 3 also receives ventilated front seats controllable through the touchscreen and accompanying smartphone app.

Model 3 Highland boasts a new rear 8-inch touchscreen, giving access to climate controls and entertainment for backseat passengers.

Also new for this version is ambient lighting, which offers over 200 distinct colour combinations through a light strip placed at the base of the windshield.

The Model 3 Highland gets a revised steering wheel, which sheds the indicator stalks in favour of haptic-touch and physical buttons. Tesla has moved the drive mode selector to the touchscreen.

Other noteworthy changes include larger trunk space (up to 594 litres from 561), three more speakers for 17 total, perforated rear seats, enhanced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an improved Bluetooth microphone.

Elevated performance

The new Tesla Model 3 also gets upgrades that are not as visible but just as crucial. It rides on a new suspension system with new subframe mounting points, springs, and dampers.

Tesla says this version comes with next-generation vehicle stability and traction control for optimised power distribution and improved cornering.

As for driving range, Model 3 Highland delivers an 11 to 12 per cent improvement over the previous model. The RWD Standard Range version now offers 554 km, while the Long Range model boasts 678 km on the WLTP cycle.

New Tesla Model 3 Highland: New Zealand availability

The 2024 Tesla Model 3 has been confirmed for New Zealand. Deliveries for left-hand drive units begin in October, but scheduling for right-hand drive models are yet unknown.

In any case, we may see the updated Model 3 in local showrooms before the end of the year. So those looking at buying this Tesla may want to hold out until then.


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